>Answering the Difficult Questions

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I have had so many ideas for posts over the past few days but I haven’t had time to sit down and actually write so of course, as always, the ideas got twisted in my head and disappeared.
I guess the underlying theme with everything that is going on is the fact that we are approximately 3/4 of the way through this deployment. We are on the downhill finally and it feels so good but at the same time we still have about a quarter of the deployment left to get through. Sometimes it feels like Homecoming is so close I can taste it, while other times I sit here saying “we still have X number of months LEFT“??????
We were in the truck today driving home and B asked me how long until Dad comes home. I told him not too much longer but that we don’t know exactly. He asked me to guess, so I responded with the best answer I could come up with that didn’t sound like too long but didn’t get his hopes up only to be let down. His reaction caught me off guard. He said “why does he have to be gone so long, I miss him, I just want him to come home now”.
For the most part our kids are used to him being gone; deployments, training, even his civilian job had him away on travel. The kids don’t know any other life and it probably wouldn’t be such a big deal if they didn’t have to constantly explain it to their friends. The boys don’t normally ask me to give them specific dates, typically they are OK with an answer such as “he will be home before so-and-so’s birthday” or “we are hoping he will be home before this holiday”.
Tonight was different, B needed something more definite. He needed to know exactly how long he had to wait and I couldn’t give that to him. It is so up in the air (as it always is with the military) that I can’t even begin to speculate on a homecoming MONTH!
I decided to tell him how many days it’s been since he left. I thought that hearing that number might make him feel better. I then told him that when I get sad and miss him I try to think of all the things I want to do BEFORE he comes home; that way I can look at it as “I only have X number of days to complete this task”. He asked me to be more specific so I gave him my goals for the remainder of the deployment.
1. Learn how to make a Topsy Turvy Cake with fondant icing.
 – the practice cake will be used at Bro #2’s baby shower and the real one will be for DH’s bday. This is an example I pulled off the Internet. I will be sure to blog about the baking experience as it is sure to be quite a fiasco.
2. Complete/Pass my OB/Peds semester of nursing school.
 – after this semester I only have one left before I graduate with my RN. Then it’s off to the BSN program.
3. Exercise more and lose more weight.
4. Organize all of DH’s clothes and give him back his side of the closet.
 – I have taken over the entire closet and most of his clothes have ended up in boxes and shoved into the back of C’s closet.
I explained to him that I have a lot to do in a short amount of time and if I think of it like that it doesn’t seem so bad. He then asked me what his goals should be. We came up with quite a few ideas but narrowed it down to a more “do-able” size. His list was a little more fun than mine.
1. Learn to count to ten in Spanish.
2. Organize all of his toys in his closet so he has a separate bin for each activity i.e. Lego’s, art supplies, etc.
3. Get to level 30 on Farmville
 – yes, he does have a Facebook account but he only uses it to play Farmville and post pictures for his Dad. 
4. Grow an inch taller.
5. Get 15 A’s on spelling tests, vocab tests or math tests.
After discussing all this he seems to be feeling better. It’s just so hard to see the kids struggle to handle a deployment because I know how hard it is as an adult and time moves even slower for kids.
How do you all handle these questions from your kids?
How honest/vague are you about length of time?
Are there any goals you can think of that would be fun for all of us to try to achieve before homecoming?
I was thinking of making a Family Goal; something we can all work on together but I can’t come up with any ideas that will interest all of them. What the 14 y/o wants may not be what the 9 y/o thinks is fun and the 12 y/o is just plain hard to please.
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>100 Post Milestone

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100 posts!
Can you believe it?

I signed in to read the latest blogs and I saw that I was at 99. Crazy to think that I’ve had that much to say. Although, when I think about it I suppose I really just say the same things in most of my posts.

“I’m stressed”
“Nursing School is hard”
“I miss my husband”

Here and there I had some interesting things to talk about, but for the most part it has become exactly what I thought (or intended for) it to be. A diary. Something I can look back on and say “oh yeah, I remember that”. Not having many friends (none around here) makes the comment aspect of the blog that much more appealing. I like when people talk to me about things other than xbox and RC cars.
I really think the blog (writing mine and reading others) has helped me keep things together. Of course not everything goes smoothly, it is after all, a deployment. Try to name me one person who made it through an entire deployment without something major going wrong. I bet you can’t. And of course, knowing that he is away makes even the small things seem major. Case in point, yesterday’s clothesline incident. Yeah, not a big deal if he were home. During deployment??? CRISIS!
We are about a quarter of the way through this, and I’m feeling as though I’m holding it together. I’m hoping this feeling continues. Summer vacation is almost over, so in less than a month the boys will be starting school and extracurricular activities again. That means, getting up early, fighting with them to go to bed at night, running all over town 3-4 nights a week for practice, homework (theirs and mine), and lets not forget dinner. I don’t know about you all, but dinner changes around here based on the situation.

During the school year, when DH is home:
  – every night is home cooked with veggies.

Summer vacation:
  – a few more frozen foods, maybe skip a night of veggies.

Deployment:
  – dinners become “what would everyone like? Pancakes???? SURE”

Deployment during summer vacation????
  – kids: “Mom, what’s for dinner”
  – me:  “oh crap, it’s 8pm, wanna order pizza”
  – kids: “NOT AGAIN”

As hectic as the past school year was, I did a complete 180 when DH left and school ended. Sure I do what needs to be done. I clean the house just enough that it doesn’t look like a daycare center after a sugary snack time. I was in school all summer so of course I was studying. I wasn’t laying on the couch or anything, but I definitely became super slack on the rules around here. The boys are loving it. Although they are going to hate me come the school year.

So, here we are:

100 posts
25% through deployment (approximately)
Going into my third to last semester of nursing school.
Major things I’ve accomplished….. NADA.

It’s all good though, because while I may not have made any huge, drastic, major, life altering changes I haven’t had a meltdown. I feel confident that I can do this.
Here’s to another 100 posts from my boring, mundane, but survivable life.